New Technology for Laser Drilling of Ceramic Films

For greater productivity, Manz engineers divide the laser beam and direct it to two independently controlled scanners. As a result, two ceramic films can be processed simultaneously.

For greater productivity, Manz engineers divide the laser beam and direct it to two independently controlled scanners. As a result, two ceramic films can be processed simultaneously.

High-tech mechanical engineering for the growth markets of the future – electronic components, electronic devices, solar and energy storage – are stock in trade of Manz AG. The expertise is based on six core technologies: automation, measurement technology, printing technology, laser process technology, wet chemical processes and vacuum coating. Now recently, Manz presented a new technology that the German company has developed for laser drilling of ceramic films in the electronics industry.
Miniature coils for electrical microcircuits are made of thin ceramic films perforated with thousands of microscopic holes. Manz engineers have developed a technology for drilling these holes, in which picosecond lasers ensure the precision required for component production while working at extremely high speeds. The new process drills 200,000 holes within 40 seconds – on a surface of just 130 mm by 130 mm. The holes’ diameter can range from 15 μm to 25 μm, and no hole’s position deviates more than 2 μm from the target value.

Square ceramic film with 130 mm edges placed for processing by a Bernoulli gripper

Square ceramic film with 130 mm edges placed for processing by a Bernoulli gripper

The new laser drilling technology combines the performance of an ultrashort pulse laser with the optical precision of a precisely corrected telecentric lens. To process two ceramic films at the same time, the laser beam is first divided by two independently controlled dual-axis Galvano scanners and then directed to a telecentric lens. Then, the lenses precisely focus the laser pulses onto the ceramic film. Drilling the ceramic film requires ultrashort laser pulses between six and ten picoseconds in length, in order to prevent the material from melting and forming craters. This is because the pulse length must be shorter than the material’s thermal relaxation time. An additional movable quartz glass lens that shifts the focus position compensates for the field of curvature that is unavoidable when a telecentric lens is used.
Ceramic films for active and passive electronic components are not the only thing that can be drilled with the new laser technology. Holes for speaker openings on electronic devices, control elements and camera apertures can also be drilled into ceramic housings. In this regard as well, laser processing is superior to mechanical tools, which quickly reach their limits due to the hardness of ceramics. (Source: Laser Technik Journal 1 / 2015)

Links: Manz AG

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